6 Signs You Need a New Job While in Nursing School
School in general can take a lot out of you, but nursing courses, especially, require every bit of your mental, emotional, and psychological energy. Nursing degree requirements include everything from understanding the circulatory system to catheters—as well as how to care for patients, how to nurture them, and sometimes their families too. It’s a tremendous achievement to earn your RN degree, precisely because it isn’t easy.
If you’re in the middle of it, you know becoming a nurse requires some sacrifice. You may not see your friends as often as you’d like; you may be behind on the Oscar nominees, not to mention sleep; and if your current job is too demanding while you’re in school, you may need to give it up and find something new. It’s hard to know for sure, so at least consider these warning signs that your job is detrimental to your nursing degree.
1. You’re not sleeping
Sleep is hard to come by for all nursing students, even as they’re learning the importance of proper rest for their health. A good night’s sleep doesn’t just make you more alert for class; it keeps your immune system healthy, your coordination strong, and your mind and spirit relaxed. If you’re not sleeping, something in your life has to change, and it may be your current job.
Every student has to balance their nursing courses and studying with the rest of life, and good sleep habits must be a priority. That balance can be impossible to strike with certain jobs. Overnight shifts are the worst offenders, but if you’re have a full-time job, or if you constantly bring work home, there may just not be enough hours in the week to complete everything on top of attending class, much less studying. Examine your schedule and make sure you’re being as efficient with potential sleep time as possible. If you are, and you still aren’t sleeping, you should consider a new job.
2. You’re not studying
You may have a flawless attendance record and sleep for seven hours every night, but if you have no extra time to study, your current job might still be to blame. Nursing classes are an invaluable source of knowledge, but studying is often when the learning sticks. Having time to review your notes, to read your manuals and textbooks, and to prepare for exams is critical to becoming a good nurse. Really, it’s critical to obtaining your RN degree. If you can’t carve out those hours every day, and procrastination isn’t the issue, you need to work less, which might mean finding a new job.
3. You have no flexibility for clinicals
This might sound like a no-brainer, but the reality is many jobs won’t allow you to gain the real world experience you need through clinicals. Clinicals are as important as classes to learn how to be a good nurse—which is why they’re an integrated part of every nursing school curriculum. You have to complete them, so you have to have a job that will give you the flexibility you need complete them. If your current job won’t, now is the time to begin looking for a new one.
4. You’re constantly exhausted
Nursing is a physical profession. From lifting patients to staying on your feet for half-day shifts, it requires strength and energy that many jobs do not, and nursing degree requirements reflect that. If you have another job that’s similarly physically demanding, you may be too exhausted for your clinical experiences or labs. You may be able to talk with your supervisor about adjusting your role or duties to conserve the energy you need for your studies. If that isn’t possible, remember that nursing school is your first priority, since it’s preparing you for your career, not just making ends meet. If you’re too exhausted to do your nursing work, you need to consider finding a job with fewer physical requirements.
5. You feel emotionally drained
One of the top reasons people want to leave a job is because they find their workplace toxic. “Toxic” is a rather vague term, one of those things you know when you see it. An emotionally unhealthy workplace can leave you hopeless, angry, exasperated—any number negative feelings. These environments are bad for everyone, but nursing students especially. Nursing requires you to be at your best—mentally and emotionally—when you’re on the job, and the same is often true for completing your nursing degree requirements. If you have a supervisor or coworkers who drain you emotionally, you won’t be able to complete your work, at least not well, and certainly not happily. You should take yourself out of any toxic environment whenever possible, and if the excuse of nursing school expedites your decision, it’s better for you in the long run.
Related Resource: 7 Signs Your Workplace Is Toxic
6. It doesn’t further your career
Maybe this list should be “5 Signs and Something to at Least Consider.” Our accelerated nurse education program allows you to complete your RN degree in under two years, after which you’re eligible to begin your nursing career. Still, while you’re taking classes, you should think about what kind of work now will benefit you in the long run. If nursing is your second career, you may already have stable, non-medical work while in school, but clinicals and labs will only instill so much information. Jobs that allow you to work alongside nurses and doctors can give you more practical experience that will make you a better nurse once you graduate. Such jobs will also make your résumé more attractive to hospitals and other future employers. This may not be a sure sign you need to switch jobs while you’re studying to become a nurse, but it’s at least a good thing to consider.
Related Resource: Should You Gain Experience Before Nursing School?